08 January 2011 7:43 pm in news by admin
No doubt the recent donation (see link) by the 1985 batch of IITB (IIT Bombay) graduates of Rs 4.5 Crore to the alma mater would have brought cheer to the faculty and the students alike at the institute.
However, a quick look at IITB’s website (see link) for the list of donors suggests that it was the not the largest and by no means the only donation. Further, this is by no means a programme of IITB only. Each IIT runs its own programme of organised donation. For example, IITC (Chennai) is running a project to raise Rs 100Cr to fund expansion and innovation.
Why are these donations so important? Do they reflect that the institutes will not be able to perform on their own merit and with the government support that they enjoy at the moment? Far from it. There are two purposes these programmes serve:
bringing together the alumni with the institute, its current students and the faculty. Without doubt IITs have been the biggest exporters of talent of India to the world. An alumnus’ desire to remain part of the fraternity he started his career with, reflects the merit of the institute and the faculty (and its ethics) which created that institute. With a spread almost global of the IIT graduates it is inevitable that the “bringing together” will involve not just an odd lunch or a dinner at the campus but an active interaction between the alumni, the students and the faculty through these donations and interactive seminars; and
whilst the faculty have and will always take the lead in understanding what is best for the students at the institute (as they are closest to the market, the academic tier and the management that run the institute), it appears there is a subtle recognition on the part of the IIT faculty that this is a changing world and in order to maintain the reputation it has painstakingly created and nurtured, it has to change with the times. That touch with the reality in the wider world and what is expected in the form of innovation comes from the alumni who recognise and realise what needs to change or be modified in order to sustain that reputation. A quick review of the purpose behind the Rs 4.5 Crore confirms this. The art of maintaining the alumni network and benefitting from it is a two way process and the subtle art of it is not lost on the alumni and the faculty (including the management) of IIT.
IIT and IIM have always led the way in creating a network and delivering results from it. In the Indian maritime sector, the strong network of those who passed out from MERI is a credible and resounding example of such success.
It is important that other aspiring institutes in India recognised the merits of these programmes as these programmes not only benefits the institutes which are the recipient of the largess but also the alumni who benefit from the reputation of the alma mater in the wider market year on year.
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